What’s in your cup today?
As I type this, I am enjoying a refreshing Colada Crush over ice. Look at how beautiful this tea is! This blend is a Rooibos — and that is what we’re going to be talking about today on our blog.
What is Rooibos?
A Red Bush tea, Rooibos is grown exclusively in the Cederberg Mountain region of South Africa. The tea belongs to the Aspalathus genus, which is genus of flowering plants in the Fabaceae legume family.
In the summer and early autumn months, the branches are harvested by hand, broken up into smaller pieces, and are then soaked in water. Once they are moistened, they are bruised and put into heaps to be oxidized for up to 24 hours. Once the herb has oxidized, it is then placed in the sun to dry.
Fun fact: Botanically speaking, Rooibos is technically a legume, as it does not come from the Camellia genus like other teas.
A Unique Flavor Profile
Woody, spicy, caramel, and honey notes are often used to describe the sweet aroma of this beautiful tea. Nina Muller of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University conducted a study on its unique flavor profile and says, “There’s an herbal floral note which is particular to rooibos.”
The flavor is often described and mild or mellow. This is quite accurate, as it is much lower in tannins than other teas. In fact, the amount of tannins found in this red bush tea is about half the tannins found in black tea. For those unfamiliar, tannins give tea its slight bitterness.
Health & Wellness Benefits of Rooibos
- Loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rooibos contains a powerful bioflavonoid called Quercetin. This bioflavonoid may offer protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as other age-related health conditions. There is substantial ongoing scientific research about the possible tumor-inhibiting power of Quercetin, such as this promising study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. Another study showed that showed that drinking Rooibos can inhibit the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). This enzyme raises blood pressure.
- May act as a bronchodilator, helping those with asthma and high blood pressure. In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition looked at a flavonoid found in the tea called Chrysoeriol and researched its impact on the possible medicinal uses of this red bush tea. The conclusion of the study states: “This study provides a sound mechanistic basis for the wide medicinal use of Rooibos tea, with the therapeutic potential to be developed for congestive respiratory ailments.”
- You may sleep better after drinking this tea, according Ernest DuToit of the SA Rooibos Council. “There are two critical compounds found in rooibos which interfere with the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. These are aspalathin and nothofagin – both potent antioxidants.” He goes on to say that because of the “lower the levels of cortisol in the body, the higher the likelihood of uninterrupted sleep.” Did I mention it is caffeine-free?
- You may notice an improvement in your skin. Pamper your skin from the inside out by drinking a cup (or more) a day of your favorite red tea. Have you ever heard of the skincare powerhouse ingredient called superoxide dismutase? It is a well-researched potent antioxidant that is being used in high-end skincare. The same ingredient is present in Rooibos, as are Vitamin D, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, and Zinc. All benefit the skin and help keep it radiant and smooth.